Remember the story about the hare and the tortoise? Well, this is not that story, but we are comparing bunny.net with another global content delivery network (CDN) provider, AWS CloudFront, to see how the two stack up. When you think of rabbits, you automatically think of speed, but a CDN is not just about speed; sometimes, other factors “win the race.”
As a leading specialized cloud storage provider, we provide application storage that folks use with many of the top CDNs. Working with these vendors allows us deep insight into the features of each platform so we can share the information with you. Read on to get our take on these two leading CDNs.
We give more ink to bunny.net than AWS CloudFront in this comparison because we’re in favor of supporting independent cloud providers that challenge the hyperscalers. So, full transparency: yes, we partner with bunny.net, but no, this post is not paid or sponsored in any way. That being said, there are use cases where AWS CloudFront is the better choice. Do you have a preference? Let us know in the comments.
What Is a CDN?
A CDN is a network of servers dispersed around the globe that host content closer to end users to speed up website performance. Let’s say you keep your website content on a server in New York City. If you use a CDN, when a user in Las Vegas calls up your website, the request can pull your content from a server in, say, Phoenix instead of going all the way to New York. This is known as caching. A CDN’s job is to reduce latency and improve the responsiveness of online content.
Scale Media Delivery Workflows With bunny.net + Backblaze B2
In this webinar, Pat Patterson demonstrates how to efficiently scale your content delivery workflows from content ingestion, transcoding, storage, to last-mile acceleration via bunny.net CDN. Pat demonstrates how to build a video hosting platform called “Cat Tube” and shows how to upload a video and play it using HTML5 video element with controls. Watch below and download the demo code to try it yourself.
CDN Use Cases
Before we compare these two CDNs, it’s important to understand how they might fit into your overall tech stack. Some common use cases for a CDN include:
- Website Reliability: If your website server goes down and you have a CDN in place, the CDN can continue to serve up static content to your customers. Not only can a CDN speed up your website performance tremendously, but it can also keep your online presence up and running, keeping your customers happy.
- App Optimization: Internet apps use a lot of dynamic content. A CDN can optimize that content and keep your apps running smoothly without any glitches, regardless of where in the world your users access them.
- Streaming Video and Media: Streaming media is essential to keep customers engaged these days. Companies that offer high-resolution video services need to know that their customers won’t be bothered by buffering or slow speeds. A CDN can quickly solve this problem by hosting 8K videos and delivering reliable streams across the globe.
- Scalability: Various times of the year are busier than others—think Black Friday. If you want the ultimate scalability, a CDN can help buffer the traffic coming into your website and ease the burden on the origin server.
- Gaming: Video game fans know nothing is worse than having your favorite online duel lock up during gameplay. Video game providers use CDNs to host high-resolution content, so all their games run flawlessly to keep players engaged. They also use CDN platforms to roll out new updates and security patches without any limits.
- Images/E-Commerce: Online retailers typically host thousands of images for their products so you can see every color, angle, and option available. A CDN is an excellent way to instantly deliver crystal clear, high-quality images without any speed issues or quality degradation.
- Improved Security: CDN services often come with beefed-up security protocols, including distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) prevention across the platform and detection of suspicious behavior on the network.
Speed Tests: How Fast Can You Go?
Speed tests are a valuable tool that businesses can use to gauge site performance, page load times, and customer experience. You can use dozens of free online speed tests to evaluate time to first byte (TTFB) and the number of requests (how many times the browser has to make the request before the page loads). Some speed tests show other more advanced metrics.
A CDN is one aspect that can affect speed and performance, but there are other factors at play as well. A speed test can help you identify bottlenecks and other issues.
Some of the most popular tools are:
Comparing bunny.net vs. AWS CloudFront
Although bunny.net and AWS CloudFront provide CDN services, their features and technology work differently. You will want all of the details when deciding which CDN is right for your application.
bunny.net is a powerfully simple CDN that delivers content at lightning speeds across the globe. The service is scalable, affordable, and secure. They offer edge storage, optimization services, and DNS resources for small to large companies.
AWS CloudFront is a global CDN designed to work primarily with other AWS services. The service offers robust cloud-based resources for enterprise businesses.
Let’s compare all the features to get a good sense of how each CDN option stacks up. To best understand how the two CDNs compare, we’ll look at different aspects of each one so you can decide which option works best for you, including:
- DDoS Protection
- TLS Protocols
- CORS Support
- Signed Exchange Support
Distribution points are the number of servers within a CDN network. These points are distributed throughout the globe to reach users anywhere. When users request content through a website or app, the CDN connects them to the closest distribution point server to deliver the video, image, script, etc., as quickly as possible.
Bunny CDN has 114 global distribution points (also called points of presence or PoPs) in 113 cities and 77 countries. For high-bandwidth users, they also offer a separate, cost-optimized network of 10 PoPs. They don’t charge any request fees and offer multiple payment options.
Currently, AWS CloudFront advertises that they have roughly 450 distribution points in 90 cities in 48 countries.
While AWS CloudFront has many points in some major cities, bunny.net has a wider global distribution—AWS CloudFront covers 90 cities, and bunny.net covers 114. And Bunny CDN ranks first on CDNPerf, a third-party CDN performance analytics and comparison tool.
Caching files allows a CDN to serve up copies of your digital content from distribution points closer to end users, thus improving performance and reliability.
With their Origin Shield feature, when CDN nodes have a cache miss (meaning the content an end user wants isn’t at the node closest to them), the network directs the request to another node versus the origin. They offer Perma-Cache where you can permanently store your files at the edge for a 100% cache hit rate. They also recently introduced request coalescing, where requests by different users for the same file are combined into one request. Request coalescing works well for streaming content or large objects.
AWS CloudFront uses caching to reduce the load of requests to your origin store. When a user visits your website, AWS CloudFront directs them to the closest edge cache so they can view content without any wait. You can configure AWS CloudFront’s cache settings using the backend interface.
Caching is one of bunny.net’s strongest points of differentiation, primarily around static content. They also offer dynamic caching with one-click configuration by query string, cookie, and state cache as well as cache chunking for video delivery. With their Perma-Cache and request coalescing, their capabilities for dynamic caching are improving.
Compressing files makes them smaller, which saves space and makes them load faster. Many CDNs allow compression to maximize your server space and decrease page load times. The two services are on par with each other when it comes to compression.
AWS CloudFront allows you to compress certain file types automatically and use them as compressed objects. The service supports both .gzip and .br compression formats.
Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks can overwhelm a website or app with too much traffic causing it to crash and interrupting actual website traffic. CDNs can help prevent DDoS attacks.
bunny.net stops DDoS attacks via a layered DDoS protection system that stops both network and HTTP layer attacks. Additionally, a number of checks and balances—like download speed limits, connection counts for IP addresses, burst requests, and geoblocking—can be configured. You can hide IP addresses and use edge rules to block requests.
AWS CloudFront uses security technology called AWS Shield designed to prevent DDoS and other types of attacks.
As an independent, specialized CDN service, bunny.net has put most of their focus on being a standout when it comes to core CDN tasks like caching static content. That’s not to say that their security services are lacking, but just that their security capabilities are sufficient to meet most users’ needs. AWS Shield is a specialized DDoS protection software, so it is more robust. However, that robustness comes at an added cost.
Integrations allow you to customize a product or service using add-ons or APIs to extend the original functionality. One popular tool we’ll highlight here is Terraform, a tool that allows you to provision infrastructure as code (IaC).
HashiCorp’s Terraform is a third-party program that allows you to manage your CDN, store source code in repositories like GitHub, track each version, and even roll back to an older version if needed. You can use Terraform to configure Bunny CDN pull zones only. You can use Terraform with AWS CloudFront by editing configuration files and installing Terraform on your local machine.
Transport Layer Security (TLS), formerly known as secure sockets layer (SSL), are encryption protocols used to protect website data. Whenever you see the lock sign on your internet browser, you are using a website that is protected by an TLS (HTTPS). Both services conform adequately to TLS standards.
bunny.net offers customers free TLS with its CDN service. They make setting it up a breeze (two clicks) in the backend of your account. You also have the option of installing your own SSL. They provide helpful step-by-step instructions on how to install it.
Because AWS CloudFront assigns a unique URL for your CDN content, you can use the default TLS certificate installed on the server or your own TLS. If you use your own, you should consult the explicit instructions for key length and install it correctly. You also have the option of using an Amazon TLS certificate.
Cross-origin resource sharing (CORS) is a service that allows your internet browser to deliver content from different sources seamlessly on a single webpage or app. Default security settings normally reject certain items if they come from a different origin and they may block the content. CORS is a security exception that allows you to host various types of content from other servers and deliver them to your users without any errors.
bunny.net and AWS CloudFront both offer customers CORS support through configurable CORS headers. Using CORS, you can host images, scripts, style sheets, and other content in different locations without any issues.
Signed Exchange Support
Signed exchange (SXG) is a service that allows search engines to find and serve cached pages to users in place of the original content. SXG speeds up performance and improves SEO in the process. The service uses cryptography to authenticate the origin of digital assets.
Both bunny.net and AWS CloudFront support SXG. bunny.net supports signed exchange through its token authentication system. The service allows you to enable, configure, and generate tokens and assign them an expiration date to stop working when you want.
AWS CloudFront supports SXG through its security settings. When configuring your settings, you can choose which cipher to use to verify the origin of the content.
Bunny CDN offers simple, affordable, region-based pricing starting at $0.01/GB in the U.S. For high-bandwidth projects, their volume pricing starts at $0.005/GB for the first 500TB.
AWS CloudFront offers a free plan, including 1TB of data transfer out, 10,000,000 HTTP or HTTPS requests, and 2,000,000 functions invocations each month.
AWS CloudFront’s paid service is tiered based on bandwidth usage. AWS CloudFront’s pricing starts at $0.085 per GB up to 10TB in North America. All told, there are seven pricing tiers from 10TB to >5PB. If you stay within the AWS ecosystem, data transfer is free from Amazon S3, their object storage service, however you’ll be charged to transfer data outside of AWS. Each tier is priced by location/country.
bunny.net is probably one of the most cost effective CDNs on the market. For example, their traffic pricing for 5TB in Europe or North America is $50 compared to $425 with CloudFront. There are no request fees, you only pay for the bandwidth you actually use. All of their features are included without extra charges. And finally, egress is free between bunny.net and Backblaze B2, if you choose to pair the two services.
Our Final Take
bunny.net’s key advantages are its simplicity, pricing, and customer support. Many of the above features are configured in one-click, giving you advanced capabilities without the headache of trying to figure out complicated provisioning. Their pricing is straightforward and affordable. And, not for nothing, they also offer one-to-one, round-the-clock customer support. If it’s important to you to be able to speak with an expert when you need to, bunny.net is the better choice.
AWS CloudFront offers more robust features, like advanced security services, but those services come with a price tag and you’re on your own when it comes to setting them up properly. AWS also prefers customers to stay within the AWS ecosystem, so using any third-party services outside of AWS can be costly.
If you’re looking for an agnostic, specialized, affordable CDN, bunny.net would be a great fit. If you need more advanced features and have the time, know-how, and money to make them work for you, AWS CloudFront offers those.
CDNs and Cloud Storage
A CDN can boost the speed of your website pages and apps. However, you still need reliable, affordable application storage for the cache to pull from. Pairing robust application storage with a speedy CDN is the perfect solution for improved performance, security, and scalability.